As many as 22 senior government doctors have agreed to become prosecution witness in the case in which Babu Singh Kushwaha and Anant Mishra, both ministers in the former Mayawati government, had allegedly taken money to appoint doctors as chief medical officers (CMOs) and district project officers (DPOs) between June 2007 and October 2011, it is learnt.
Sources in the CBI, which is investigating the case, said these doctors had admitted having paid money for their own posting through four suppliers of the Family Welfare Department and former BSP MLA Ram Prasad Jaiswal.
On June 2, the CBI had lodged a case against Mishra, Kushwaha, Jaiswal, former principal secretary of Health and Family Welfare Pradeep Shukla, former director-general of Health and Family Welfare Dr SP Ram, and suppliers Guddu Khan, Mahendra Pandey, Manvendra Chaddha and Girish Mallik.
The case was registered after the CBI came across evidence of bribes in posting and transfer of doctors while conducting an inquiry into the misappropriation of NRHM funds on the orders of the Allahabad High Court.
The ministers had allegedly got over 100 doctors posted as CMOs and DPOs after collecting amount between Rs 25 to Rs 35 lakh each through suppliers. After getting CMOs and DPOs of their choice, the suppliers hiked the rates many times over the market rates for supplying medicines, surgical items and doing miscellaneous works, causing huge losses to the exchequer.
The CBI now plans to have the statements of these doctors recorded before a magistrate, before submitting the chargesheet, sources said.
About 10 doctors who had got postings as CMOs with the help of Pandey during Mishra’s tenure have reportedly said that the minister did not seek vigilance clearance, nor followed the seniority criteria before their postings as CMOs. The doctors also reportedly revealed that had played the role of middleman for managing their posting during Mishra’s tenure until 2009.
Later, in May 2009, Family Welfare and Health Departments were bifurcated and the then family welfare minister, Kushwaha, started looking after NRHM.
As many as 12 doctors who were posted during Kushwaha’s tenure have reportedly revealed that suppliers — Chaddha, Khan and Mallik — and MLA Ram Prasad Jaiswal acted as the middlemen for the then minister and managed their posting in the districts as DPOs after taking an assurance that only they will be given NRHM contracts.
The doctors told the CBI that the suppliers were so influential that they used to get NRHM works allotted to their districts from the Family Welfare Directorate and the then Family Welfare DG Dr SP Ram used to release funds in advance, sources said.